We’ve been tracking the gas consumption on our 2006 Pontiac Vibe since we bought it over 3 years ago. It’s now a habit for both of us to write the distance traveled on each gas receipt we get. The only problem is I seem to forget to collect all those receipts on a timely basis so they pile up in the console of the Vibe until we run out of space.
I finally got around to spending some time with all of the gas receipts we’ve been collecting for the last year or so. I’ve pulled it all together into a Google Doc which is magically translated into the interactive chart you should see below. Enjoy!
How will this help anyone?
The chart gets magically updated any time I get around to adding more data into the associated Google Docs spreadsheet. This will allow you to see real world gas mileage numbers for a 2006 Pontiac Vibe. To be able to make any sense out of what you’re seeing, you’ll need to know some basic information:
The car is a normal 1.8L automatic transmission Vibe.
It has air conditioning and cruise control, both of which are used relatively often (we don’t avoid using either for any reason).
The car is typically driven over 100km/day on secondary highways where the average speed is a pretty constant 90km/h.
The car averages roughly 80% highway and 20% city driving, based on the definition of “highway” driving.
We put winter tires on the car. Usually we try to go as late as we can before putting them on (late November or early December most years) and I’ll take them off as soon as the night time temperature stay above freezing.
Is this gas mileage typical for the Pontiac Vibe?
That’s sort of a tough question. Based on the fueleconomy.gov website, the 2006 Pontiac Vibe gets 9.4L/100km city and 7.6L/100km highway (revised numbers). We’re averaging closer to the combined number of 8.7L/100km for the year.
If I can figure out how, I’ll get this page to live update the high/low gas mileage as well as the running average for some arbitrary period of time.
We’ve had our 2006 Pontiac Vibe for about two and a half years now and we recently passed 80,000km (just shy of 50,000 miles). Overall the car has been working well for us. We’ve had no mechanical issues with the car and the only real cost has been regular oil changes. I think we’re soon due for a brake job though. We still have the original all-seasons on the car after 80,000km but we’ve put winter tires on for two of the three winters the car has gone through. Even with winters, the all-seasons tires still have around 55,000km.
Our average fuel consumption for 2008 is currently at 8.34L/100km (~ 28 MPG). This isn’t very good in my opinion but it does include winter driving with the snow tires on. In the winter with the snow tires, we’re getting around 9.0L/100km (~ 26.5 MPG). In the summer months we’re down around 7.5L/100km (~ 31.4 MPG) which is a little better. It’s interesting because the US DoE has the 2006 Pontiac Vibe at 31 MPG (7.6L/100km) for highway with their readjusted numbers. My problem still stems from the fact this car was rated at 34 MPG (6.9L/100km) for highway when we bought it. The best fuel economy I’ve ever achieved in that car was a one-off 6.7L/100km (~ 35.1 MPG). That was when we were driving on secondary roads averaging 90km/h (~55 MPH), true “highway” driving. I also annoyed the snot our of The Boss on this drive as I was putting into practice some of the driving techniques I’ve learned from reading ecomodder.com. ;)
With some driving style modifications, I think this car should be able to do consistently in the 6.8L/100km to 7.0L/100km range in the summer. It’s very noticeable though when you turn on the AC as the little 1.8L engine has to rev higher to deal with the added load. This definitely contributes to worse fuel economy. One thing to keep in mind is that the defrost settings on this car also turn on the AC.
One other gripe about the car is that there is a very thin layer of paint. It seems that everything causes a small paint chip. I think if you sneezed while standing within 10 feet of the car it would get a paint chip. To try and keep the rust at bay, I bought one of those colour matched paint pens from the dealership and every couple months I have to dab a few more chips. Nothing major but it’s one maintenance annoyance I could do without.
We’re probably going to keep this car for many more years. It will probably get relegated to the “second car” in a few years as it’s not quite big enough for a growing family.
I was reading the Autoblog Green article GM announces new light duty 4.5L V-8 diesel for North America which made me a little excited. This would be a fabulous option for people like myself who would like to have a diesel pickup but not a heavy duty work horse truck. This diesel is smaller than the current 4.8L V8 gas engine (like I had in my old trucks) and produces more horsepower and way more torque. There is a reference to a 25% reduction in fuel consumption over the existing gas engines. I can only assume that this is a comparison to the 5.3L V8 that is pretty much the defacto standard engine in a GM full-sized truck.
Now, I was confused by the first comment on the article because the poster simply missed the point. They should be impressed by a 25% reduction in fuel consumption for pickup trucks. According to the sales numbers on pickuptruck.com, GM has sold a combined 350,000 pickup trucks to the end of May 2007. That will be almost 850,000 trucks by the end of the year. If the majority of those trucks can see a reduction of 25% in their fuel consumption, just think of how much less fuel will be used.
The poster may not see the use of a pickup truck but I’ll bet that a lot of their service companies, contractors, emergency services and other commercial operations do. They all drive a lot more in a year than the average family of 4. 50+ mpg makes very little difference on the whole. Yeah, it helps your own pocket a bit more but unless you’re driving a lot more than the average, you may be no better off once you take into consideration the (current) extra cost of a diesel. I’ve done the math and it almost make sense for me. I commute over 110km (almost 70 miles) a day and if I weren’t carpooling with two other guys, I’d likely have a Volkswagen TDI already, even with the extra up front expense and higher ongoing maintenance costs.
Oh, and forget the H2 being mentioned in the original article, that’s the red herring to get you to bite.